A Pedestrian Nightmare / Joshua Alan Sturgill
That dizzying, crushing, liberating moment when you look down and realize you have no feet. All your life—seeing pictures of feet, reading about anatomy—all your life you assumed. Because you had something that looked like the pictures, you assumed you had feet. You walked, stood, shifted. The suggestion of feet was so often made. But suddenly you’re aware now that somewhere near your lungs, somewhere in the cage of your ribs, a gradual thinning begins. Your navel is a grey dimple in a fog, and your lusts are nothing more than a panicked nostalgia for what should be but isn’t, quite. And the gradual un-presence increases with such perfect unobtrusive smoothness that it’s difficult to see exactly where the absence takes over completely, like the last notes fading from a symphony. Maybe some see better than others. But your focus is now on that place where your feet should be, where something which looks like feet appears to be. Where would you best locate them? Can they be created through concentration or contemplation? Platonic Recollection? Nietzschean Force of Will? Can they, with enough clothing, be made to take form? With enough socks, shoes, jeans, boots, sandals—coerce, stretch, entice—then won’t the real feet emerge? Are they hiding? Were they ever there? And, do other people have feet? On what do they seem to stand? You might try, casually, to ask them about feet. You might form some kind of society for mutual assurance, develop a mutual vocabulary about feet. More words for more foot-ideas. When this conversation is far enough advanced, when foot-ideas are more common than foot-experience, then perhaps it won’t matter that you have no feet. Everyone will discuss walking. Everyone will seem to stand. Is it necessary to know they’re standing over a void?